Detroit — For a golf course and a PGA Tour tournament that was proved a parade of birdies in 2019, perhaps it's only fitting the Rocket Mortgage Classic welcomes the man from the Land Down Under.
Australia's Jason Day, formerly the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, has announced his commitment to play at Detroit Golf Club next week. The Rocket Mortgage Classic marks Day's first time playing a sanctioned professional tournament in Michigan.
Day becomes one of the biggest stars in the field, joining Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau.
Also committing with Day on Wednesday was a pair of Kevins: Kisner and Na.
The deadline for final commitments is around 5 p.m. Friday.
Day, 32, is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2015 PGA Championship. Of his 12 wins, eight came during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, including the 2016 Players Championship. From September 2015 through February 2017, Day held the title as No. 1-ranked golfer in the world three different times, including one stretch for 47 consecutive weeks.
Of current players on the PGA Tour, only Tiger Woods, current No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Luke Donald have spent more time at No. 1 in the world.
Day has struggled of late, though, falling to No. 56 in the world — though he did finish fourth at Pebble Beach before the PGA Tour's shutdown. But he hasn't won on the PGA Tour since May 2018, and has had severe chronic back pain for many years. He also split with his longtime caddie in 2019.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic will be the fourth consecutive week Day will have played; he missed the cut at Colonial and Hilton Head, and is in the field again this week in Connecticut.
Day has a bit of a connection to Rocket Mortgage's and Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert, in that Day has been a long-time season-ticket holder of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are owned by Gilbert. Day has resided full-time in Ohio for several years.
As for Wednesday's other commitments, Na is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, all of those wins coming in the last two years. He won the Shriners in October. Kisner has won three times on the PGA Tour, all coming within the last three years, including the World Golf Championship Match Play in March 2019.
The 156-player field for the second playing of the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be finalized at the end of the second round of this week's Travelers Championship. Already in the field are the likes of Fowler, DeChambeau,Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Tony Finau.
The tournament lost Phil Mickelson's commitment amid the PGA Tour scheduling shuffle. Mickelson now will play the newly installed tournament in Ohio the week after the Rocket Mortgage Classic. That tournament is sponsored by Workday, for whom Mickelson is a pitchman.
All eyes will continue to stay glued on Tiger Woods, though it's highly unlikely he'll be making a surprise commitment. He hasn't played since the PGA Tour restarted, and there are no indicators he'll play before Jack Nicklaus' Memorial tournament, two weeks after the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Woods likes to build his light schedule around getting ready for the majors, and there are no majors this year until the PGA Championship in August. Then again, if there's a year where a Woods absence wouldn't sting as much, it's this year for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will be played fan-less amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rocket Mortgage Classic
When: July 2-5
Where: Detroit Golf Club
Defending champion: Nate Lashley
Tickets: None; the event will be held without fans